Much to Democrats’ chagrin, George W. Bush hasn’t played much of a role in larger 2012 political conversation. His name was rarely uttered during the Republican presidential primaries; the failed former president hid during the party’s national convention; and Mitt Romney did his level best to ignore the news when Bush endorsed him.
It came as a pleasant surprise, then, when a voter broached the subject last night. She noted she’s been “disappointed with the lack of progress” over the last four years, but she’s afraid of going back to Bush-era policies and wanted Romney to explain how they’re different.
Romney responded by answering a previous question about contraception. When he got around to responding, Romney stressed oil drilling and trade as examples of why “President Bush had a very different path for a very different time” — despite the fact that Romney and Bush have the same positions on oil drilling and trade.
What struck me as interesting was Obama making a counter-intuitive point — he said Romney and Bush are different, but Romney is worse:
“You know, there are some things where Governor Romney’s different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform; he didn’t call for ‘self-deportation.’ George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
“So there are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy. In some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy, and I think that’s a mistake.”
Now, when I heard the question, my first thoughts turned to the fact that Romney has surrounded himself with former Bush/Cheney aides who are shaping a Bush/Cheney platform. Obama didn’t mention this.
But in some ways, the president’s response was even more effective: if you loved Bush’s economic policies, but didn’t think he was right-wing enough on Medicare, immigration, and women’s health, then Mitt Romney’s the candidate for you.
I have a hunch the woman in the audience who posed the question wasn’t reassured.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 17, 2012
About a month ago, Politico ran a much-discussed piece, insisting that the Republican Party and its base have become “fanatically anti-spending.” Tea Partiers, the article added, are obsessed with “cut, cut, cut,” and “taking a cleaver to government spending.”
“Do you support or oppose doing each of the following to deal with the federal budget deficit: cut Medicare and Medicaid?”
Among all registered voters, 80% opposed these cuts. Among self-identified Tea Party supporters, 70% opposed these cuts. Among self-identified Republicans, 73% opposed these cuts.
We’re talking about taxpayer-financed, socialized medicine, which Tea Partiers should oppose reflexively if they’re desperate to “cut, cut, cut.”
Except, they’re not.
When pressed on the radical nature of their agenda, congressional Republicans consistently claim the “American people” are on their side, even suggesting they have a popular mandate to pursue drastic policy measures that voters didn’t know about last year. But the data is hard to ignore — not only does the American mainstream oppose GOP cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, but even the Republicans’ own base isn’t on board.
I often think of this piece from Matt Taibbi, who attended a Tea Party rally last summer.
After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.
“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”
“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”
“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”
I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”
Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!
“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”
“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”
“But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”
“Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.”
The point is that congressional Republicans are desperate to make devastating cuts, and think they’re on safe political ground. GOP officials might be surprised to learn just how many Americans rely on government spending, and want to keep the benefits that apply to them.
By: Steve Benen, Washington Monthly, Political Animal, April 19, 2011
April 19, 2011 Posted by raemd95 | Budget, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Deficits, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Medicaid, Medicare, Middle Class, Politics, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Seniors, Tea Party, Voters, Wealthy | American People, Anti-Government, Election Mandates, Safety Nets, Social Policy, Socialized Medicine, Spending Cuts, Tax Assessors | Leave a Comment
Female members of the U.S. Senate made clear Friday that they have no intention of “throwing women under the bus” by giving in to Republican demands to approve several policy riders attached to a budget bill designed to keep the federal government operational.
“Since they (Republicans) don’t know how to create jobs, they’ve changed the topic to their radical approach to the budget,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland). “And it is radical. They’ve cut $1 billion at the National Institutes of Health, $1 billion dollars from Head Start, $50 million from prenatal care — the changed the topic from jobs since they didn’t know how to do it.
“Then they said, ‘Oh, we are going to fight to bring down the debt and the deficit.’ And that hasn’t worked out because, to their surprise, we had specific, immediate, achievable ways to become a more frugal government. Since they lost that fight, they want to change the topic again so that all we are talking about is a radical, ideological agenda in riders. … Let’s get back to what we should be talking about: How to avoid a shutdown.”
The numerous policy riders attached to the bill, Mikulski said, can be voted on another day, and do not have to be a part of a budget discussion.
Perhaps the most contentious of the riders attached by the GOP is a complete ban of all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
“This is not about abortion,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). “Republicans need to wake up. Since the Hyde Amendment of the last 30 years, federal money does not pay for abortions in this country. What they are cutting in this bill is the safety-net for poor, at-risk women for pre-cancer screenings, for prenatal care, for early detection of STDs — for all the types of safety-nets that keep our families safe.
“This is unacceptable and we will draw the line in the Senate.”
The frustration being voiced by the women of the Senate was also present in a prepared statement issued Friday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, a Democrat who represents Iowa’s 2nd District.
“As a government shutdown looms, politicians in Washington are still wrapped up in political Russian roulette where the clear loser is Iowans,” Loebsack said. “Instead of shutting down the government in an effort to restrict women’s access to health care, we need to think about our military families who are worried about how they are going to put food on the table, even while their loved ones are defending our nation overseas.
“A government shutdown can still be averted, but the grandstanding and misplaced debates about social policy must be put aside. We must work together toward a compromise that addresses the needs of our constituents, and keeps our economic recovery on track. Time is running short — I call on Congress and the President to put our constituents ahead of politics.”
In a Facebook posting Friday, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland called the situation “an outrage” that “hurts women,” and noted that more than 54,000 women in Iowa and Nebraska would lose access to screenings and preventative health care if the policy rider barring federal money for Planned Parenthood remains intact.
Although the policy rider in connection with Planned Parenthood has been one of the most discussed and contentious items attached to the budget bill, it is far from the only attachment to H.R. 1, the continuing resolution passed by the U.S. House on Feb. 19. Other riders have included a prohibition of funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, limitations on the FDA’s ability to transfer funds, stalling a transfer from the Federal Reserve for the creation of the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and development of a government-sponsored “consumer products complaints database,” prohibits funds for the U.S. Department of Education for regulations on Gainful Employment, stalls funding for several environmental and conservations programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, prohibits funding for the implementation of health care reform provisions, halts funding for capital advances or rental assistance contracts for HUD Housing for the Elderly projects and bars the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
By: Lynda Waddington, The Washington Independent, April 8, 2011
April 9, 2011 Posted by raemd95 | Abortion, Budget, Congress, Conservatives, Deficits, Democrats, Economy, Environment, GOP, Government Shut Down, Health Care, Ideology, Planned Parenthood, Politics, Right Wing, Senate, Women, Women's Health, Womens Rights | EPA, FDA, Gitmo, HUD, Sen Barbara Mikulski, Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, Social Policy | 1 Comment
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